ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo. — The first go-round of the 66th annual National High School Finals Rodeo concluded Wednesday, and the Beehive State finished with a strong showing.
In the overall team standings, Utah is in third place with 1,761 points behind first-place Texas (1,990 points) and second-place Oklahoma (1839.72 points). Utah is leading the way in the boys team standings with 1180 points while it's seventh in the girls team standings with 581 points.
Individually, Dax Barnson is seventh in the all-around cowboy race with 170 points and Karista Nusink of Springville is tied for 10th in the all-around cowgirls competition with 190 points.
Highlighting the performances of the Utah contingent were Katelyn Badham of Nephi and Rusty Wright of Milford. Badham won the barrel racing competition with a time of 17.13 seconds, while Wright took the saddle bronc riding event with a score of 83 points.
Wright's brother Ryder finished just behind his sibling in saddle bronc riding with 76 points. Also taking second in an event was Nusink, who came just shy of British Columbia's Samantha Kerr in pole bending. Mclayne Pearson of Veyo finished in 24th of that event.
Ashley Allen of Eagle Mountain took fifth in breakaway roping while Wyatt Misrasi of Malad City and Ladd King of Kaysville finished the first round tied with four others for sixth place in boys cutting.
In team roping, two teams with Utah ties are in the top 25 after the first round. Barnson joined with Austin Carter of Las Vegas to sit in fifth place, while Brodi Jones of Erda and Stefan Ramone of Ephraim are in 25th.
Utah also has multiple representatives in girls cutting, as Kacee Waldron of Morgan is tied for 14th and Rylee Dick of Oakley is tied for 23rd. Rounding out the Beehive State representation is Barnson, who is 20th in tie-down roping.
The second round began Wednesday evening and will conclude on Saturday.